‘It didn’t happen’: Virginia remains blue after red wave predictions

Diana Ho, Contributing Writer

Virginia remains a majority blue state after incumbent Democratic representatives won re-election.

The incumbent democrats that won re-election were Abigail Spanberger, Donald McEachin, Bobby Scott, Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly and Jennifer Wexton, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria of the 2nd District lost her seat to Republican challenger Jen Kiggans. 

Neither the Republican or Democratic party have reached 218 members to claim a majority in the House of Representatives as of Nov. 15, according to Associated Press. Democrats have control of the Senate as of Nov. 13.

There should have been a “red wave” in Congress when considering the state of the economy and President Joe Biden’s low approval rating, according to political science professor Alex Keena. 

“But it didn’t happen. This says a lot about how poorly the Republican Party brand is resonating with voters,” Keena stated.

There is not a clear answer in understanding why swing states turned against Republicans despite dissatisfaction with Biden, but there may be a connection to candidates linked to former president Donald Trump, abortion rights or young voters, Keena stated.

Battleground states in the midterm election are traditional swing states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which all voted for Biden in the 2020 presidential election, according to the National Archives website.

Trump endorsed Republican Virginia candidate Yesli Vega. Trump stated Vega is a “strong Republican voice,” on his social media platform

Rep. Abigail Spanberger won against Vega with a majority of 52.11%, according to VPAP. 

More votes had been counted for Vega in the 7th Congressional District at 8 p.m., according to VPAP. After 98% of the votes were reported around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, they showed more people had voted for Spanberger.

Spanberger declared victory around 10:30 p.m. during her election watch party, prior to the confirmation from VPAP.

“Thanks to your commitment and hard work, we have won this race,” Spanberger said during her speech. 

Spanberger thanked Vega as an opponent during her speech. Vega conceded in a tweet on Nov. 9, stating that she congratulates Congresswoman Spanberger on a “hard fought” win. 

“As Supervisor, I look forward to working with Abigail in the future,” Vega stated.

Spanberger winning in a Republican-leaning district is a good sign for Democrats, Keena stated. 

“But it probably says more about problems with the Republican Party than it does about Democrats,” Keena stated. “The Republican Party should have been more competitive in seats like the 7th District.”

College Republicans at VCU chairman William Faber said his organization was in favor of new Republican candidates Vega, Benjamin, Kiggans, as well as all incumbent Republican Virginia representatives.

Faber said College Republicans at VCU went to the 7th District twice, along with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, to canvas for Vega. 

“We absolutely support her [Vega]. That race was definitely a lot closer than what we expected,” Faber said. “And then Jen Kiggans. Of course, we’ve helped her campaign a lot this year. And we were trying to flip that seat, which we did. So that was definitely a huge thing for our club to do and be a part of.”

Faber said he was surprised to hear that Benjamin did not request any help from College Republicans at VCU. 

“It proves that you can’t get too cocky in this race, because the red wave that everybody thought was happening, it’s currently not happening,” Faber said.

Although Spanberger is an incumbent Democrat, the representative is a former law enforcement and CIA officer that prioritizes national defense, according to her website. Faber said he thinks she is moderate.

“She was doing a lot of Republican things that people wouldn’t have expected. So I thought, both candidates [Spanberger and McEachin] were moderate, and I didn’t really have a preference if they won or lost,” Faber said. 

Keena stated he expects Spanberger to legislate as a pragmatist, no matter which party is in power. If there is a Democratic majority in the House, Spanberger will likely be a moderating voice for the caucus, according to Keena. 

“If the Republicans win, it will be by a very narrow margin, and they will likely need to win over moderate Democrats like Spanberger to pass legislation,” Keena stated. 

The Commonwealth Times reached out to Young Democrats at VCU three times and has not received a response regarding a comment on the midterm election results at the time of this publication.

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